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The Wives Of The Prophet (saw)

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The Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam's) Household

By Shaykh Safiur-Rahmaan al-Mubaarakpooree

Taken from: Ar-Raheeq ul-Makhtoom, Pgs. 483-491

Produced by (www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.al-meezaan(contact admin if its a beneficial link)"]www.al-meezaan(contact admin if its a beneficial link)[/url]

 

1. Khadeejah bint Khuwailid: In Makkah - prior to al-Hijrah - the Prophet's household comprised him (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and his wife Khadeejah bint Khuwailid. He was twenty-five and she was forty when they got married. She was the first woman he married. She was the only wife he had till she died. He had sons and daughters with her. None of their sons lived long. They all died. Their daughters were Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthoom and Faatimah.

 

Zaynab was married to her maternal cousin Abul-'Aas bin Ar-Rabee' and that was before al-Hijrah. Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthoom were both married to 'Uthmaan bin 'Affaan (radee Allaahu 'anhu) successively (i.e. he married one after the death of her sister). Faatimah was married to 'Alee bin Abi Taalib; and that was in the period between Badr and Uhud battles. The sons and daughters that Faatimah and 'Alee had were al-Hasan, al-Husain, Zaynab and Umm Kulthoom.

 

It is well-known that the Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was exceptionally authorized to have more than four wives for various reasons. The wives he married were thirteen. Nine of them outlived him. Two died in his lifetime: Khadeejah and the Mother of the poor (Umm ul-Masaakeen) - Zaynab bint Khuzaymah, besides two others with whom he did not consummate his marriage.

 

2. Sawdah bint Zam'ah: He married her in Shawwaal, in the tenth year of Prophethood, a few days after the death of Khadeejah. Prior to that, she was married to a paternal cousin of hers called As-Sakran bin 'Amr.

 

3. 'Aa'ishah bint Abi Bakr: He married her in the eleventh year of Prophethood, a year after his marriage to Sawdah, and two years and five months before al-Hijrah. She was six years old when he married her. However, he did not consummate the marriage with her till Shawwaal seven months after al-Hijrah, and that was in Madeenah. She was nine then. She was the only virgin he married, and the most beloved creature to him. As a woman she was the most learned woman in jurisprudence.

 

4. Hafsah bint 'Umar bin al-Khattaab: She was Aiyim (i.e. husbandless). Her ex-husband was Khunays bin Hudhafah As-Sahmee in the period between Badr and Uhud battles. The Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) married her in the third year of al-Hijrah.

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5. Zaynab bint Khuzaymah: She was from Bani Hilaal bin 'Aamir bin Sa'sa'a. Was nicknamed Umm ul-Masaakeen, because of her kindness and care towards them. She used to be the wife of 'Abdullaah bin Jahsh, who was martyred at Uhud, was married to the Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) in the fourth year of al-Hijrah, but she died two or three months after her marriage to the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam).

 

6. Umm Salamah Hind bint Abi 'Umayyah: She used to be the wife of Abu Salamah, who died in Jumaadah al-Aakhir, in the fourth year of al-Hijrah. The Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) married her in Shawwaal of the same year.

 

7. Zaynab bint Jahsh bin Riyaab: She was from Bani Asad bin Khuzaymah and was the Messenger's paternal cousin. She was married to Zayd bin Haarithah - who was then considered son of the Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) . However, Zayd divorced her. Allaah sent down some Qur'aanic verses with this respect:

 

"So when Zayd had accomplished his desire from her (i.e., divorced her), We gave her to you in marriage." (Soorat ul-Ahzaab, 33:37)

 

About her, Allaah has sent down some verses of al-Ahzaab Chapter that discussed the adoption of children in detail - anyway we will discuss this later. The Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) married her in Dhul-Qa'dah, the fifth year of al-Hijrah.

 

8. Juwayriyah bint al-Haarith: al-Haarith was the head of Bani al-Mustaliq of Khuza'ah. Juwayriyah was among the booty that fell to the Muslims from Bani al-Mustaliq. She was a portion of Thaabit bin Qays bin Shammas' share. He made her a covenant to set her free at a certain time. The Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) accomplished the covenant and married her in Sha'baan in the sixth year of al-Hijrah.

 

9. Umm Habeebah: Ramlah, the daughter of Abu Sufyaan. She was married to 'Ubaydullaah bin Jahsh. She migrated with him to Abyssinia (Ethiopia). When 'Ubaydullaah apostatized and became a Christian, she stood fast to her religion and refused to convert. However 'Ubaydullaah died there in Abyssinia (Ethiopia). The Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) dispatched 'Amr bin Umayyah ad-Damree with a letter to Negus, the king, asking him for Umm Habeebah's hand - that was in Muharram, in the seventh year of al-Hijrah. Negus agreed and sent her to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in the company of Sharhabeel bin Hasnah.

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10. Safiyyah bint Huyai bin Akhtab: From the Children of israel, she was among the booty taken at Khaybar battle. The Messenger of Allaah (Allah bless him and give him peace) took her for himself. He set her free and married her after that conquest in the seventh year of al-Hijrah.

 

11. Maymoonah bint al-Haarith: The daughter of al-Haarith, and the sister of Umm ul-Fadl Lubaabah bint al-Haarith. The Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) married her after the Compensatory 'Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage). That was in Dhul-Qa'dah in the seventh year of al-Hijrah.

 

Those were the eleven women that the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) had married and consummated marriage with them. He outlived two of them - Khadeejah and Zaynab, the Umm ul-Masaakeen. Whereas the other nine wives outlived him.

 

The two wives that he did not consummate marriage with were, one from Bani Kilaab and the other from Kindah and this was the one called al-Jawniyyah.

 

Besides these, he had two concubines. The first was Maariyyah al-Qibtiyyah (the Coptic - an Egyptian Christian), a present gift from al-Muqawqis, vicegerent of Egypt - she gave birth to his son Ibraaheem, who died in Madeenah while still a little child, on the 28th or 29th of Shawwal in the year 10 A.H., i.e. 27th January, 632 A.D. The second one was Rayhaanah bint Zayd an-Nadriyyah or Quradiyyah, a captive from Bani Quraydah. Some people say she was one of his wives. However, Ibn al-Qayyim gives more weight to the first version. Abu 'Ubaydah spoke of two more concubines, Jameelah, a captive, and another one, a bondwoman granted to him by Zaynab bint Jahsh.

 

Whosoever meditates on the life of the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam), will conceive that his marriage to this great number of women in the late years of his lifetime, after he had almost spent thirty years of his best days of youth sufficing himself to one old wife - Khadeejah and later on to Sawdah, was in no way an overwhelming lustful desire to be satisfied through such a number of wives. These marriages were in fact motivated by aims and purposes much more glorious and greater than what normal marriages usually aim at.

 

The tendency of the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) towards establishing a relationship by marriage with both Abu Bakr and 'Umar and his marriage to 'Aa'ishah and Hafsah - and getting his daughter Faatimah married to 'Alee bin Abi Taalib, and the marriage of his two daughters, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthoom to 'Uthmaan - indicate clearly that he aimed at confirming the relationship among the four men - whose sacrifices and great achievements in the cause of Islaam are well-known.

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Besides this, there was that tradition of the Arabs to honour the in-law relations. For them a son or a daughter-in-law was a means by which they sought the consolidation of relationship and affection with various phratries. Hostility and fights against alliances and affinities would bring an unforgettable shame, disgrace and degradation to them.

 

By marrying the Mothers of the Believers, the Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) wanted to demolish or break down the Arab tribes' enmity to Islaam and extinguish their intense hatred. Umm Salamah was from Bani Makhzoom - the clan of Abu Jahl and Khaalid bin al-Waleed. Her marriage to the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) produced good results. Khaalid's deliberately undecisive attitude at Uhud - for instance - was due to the Messenger's marriage to Umm Salamah. Khaalid went even further than that, in a short time he willingly became a keen obedient Muslim.

 

After the Messenger of Allaah's marriage to Umm Habeebah, Abu Sufyaan, her father, did not encounter him with any sort of hostility. Similarly his marriage to Juwayriyah and Safiyyah made the two tribes stop all sorts of provocation, aggression or hostility against Islaam. Better still, Juwayriyah, herself, was one of the greatest sources of blessing to her own people. On the occasion of her marriage to the Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam), his Companions set a hundred families of her people free. They said: "It is for their affinity with the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam)." No need to say what great good impression this gratitude had on everybody's soul. One of the greatest motives of all is Allaah's bidding his Prophet to educate and purify the souls of people who had known nothing whatsoever about courtesy, education and culture. He had to teach them to comply with the necessities of civilization and to contribute to the solidification and the establishment of a new Islamic society.

 

An essential fundamental rule of the Muslim society is to prohibit mixing of men and women. Providing direct education for women, though highly compelling, is impossible in the light of this Islamic norm. Therefore, the Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) had to select some women of different ages and talents, and indoctrinate them systematically in order to educate she-bedouins and townswomen, old and young, and thus furnish them with the instruments of propagating the true faith. The Mothers of The Believers (i.e. wives of the Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam)) were in such a convenient position that they could convey the state of the Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and his affairs to people (men and women). Being educated and taught the teachings and rules of Islaam, his wives, especially those who outlived him, played a very important role in conveying Prophetic traditions Ahadith to the Muslims. 'Aa'ishah, for instance, related a large number of the Prophet's deeds and statements.

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His marriage to his paternal cousin Zaynab bint Jahsh was a peculiar case which aimed at eradicating a deeply rooted pre-Islamic tradition - i.e. the adoption of children. In al-Jahiliyyah the Arabs used to consider an adopted person exactly like a real son or daughter as far as rights and sanctities are concerned. That Jahiliyyah tradition had been so deeply rooted in their hearts that it was not easy to remove or uproot it. This tradition in fact affronts the basic principles of Islaam; especially those concerned with marriage, divorce and inheritance and some other cases, and brought about lots of corruptions and indecencies. Naturally Islaam stands against such deeds, and attempts to remove them from the Islamic society.

 

For the eradication of this tradition, Allaah, the Exalted, bid His Messenger (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) to marry his cousin Zaynab bint Jahsh, who was an ex-wife to Zayd. She was at variance with Zayd to an extent that he intended to divorce her - that was at the time when the Confederates (al-Ahzaab) were making an evil alliance against the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and against the Muslims. The Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) feared that the hypocrites, the idolaters, and the Jews would make a propaganda out of it and try to influence some Muslims of weak hearts. That was why he urged Zayd not to divorce her, in order not to get involved into that trial.

 

Undoubtedly this hesitation and partiality were alien to the character of the Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam). They did not apply to the power of determination and will with which he had been sent. Allaah, the Exalted, blamed him for that by saying:

 

"And (remember) when you said to him (Zayd bin Haarithah (radee Allaahu 'anhu) - the freed slave of the Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) ) on whom Allaah has bestowed grace (by guiding him to Islaam) and you (O Muhammad (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) ) have done favour (by manumitting him), 'Keep your wife to yourself, and fear Allaah.' But you did hide in yourself (i.e. what Allaah has already made known to you that He will give her to you in marriage) that which Allaah will make manifest, you did fear the people (i.e. Muhammad (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) ) married the divorced wife of his manumitted slave) whereas Allaah had a better right that you should fear him." (Soorat ul-Ahzaab, 33:37)

 

Finally Zayd divorced Zaynab and the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) married her at the time he laid siege to Bani Quraydah. That was after she had finished her 'iddah (i.e. period during which a widow or a divorcee may not remarry). Allaah Himself had already ordained it, and so gave him no other alternative. Allaah had even started the marriage Himself by saying:

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"So when Zayd had accomplished his desire from her (i.e. divorced her), We gave her to you in marriage, so that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the believers in respect of (the marriage of) the wives of their adopted sons when the latter have no desire to keep them (i.e. they have divorced them)." (Soorat ul-Ahzaab, 33:37)

 

And that was in order to break down the tradition of child adoption in practice after He had done it in words:

 

"Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just near Allaah." (Soorat ul-Ahzaab, 33:5)

 

"Muhammad (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) ) is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allaah, and the last (end) of the Prophets." (Soorat ul-Ahzaab, 33:40)

 

Lots of deeply-rooted traditions cannot be uprooted or demolished or even adjusted by mere words. They must be matched and associated with the action of the advocate of the Message himself.

 

This could be perceived through the deeds practised by the Muslims at al-Hudaybiyah 'Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage) during which 'Urwah bin Mas'ood al-Thaqaafee saw certain Muslims tend to pick up any expectoration that fell down from the Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) . He also saw them race to the water of his ablution and they almost quarrelled for it. There were others who competed to pledge allegiance to death and some others pledged not to flee from (the battlefield). Among those people, were eminent Companions like 'Umar and Abu Bakr, who although dedicated all their lives to the Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and to the cause of Islaam, but hesitated to carry out the Messenger's ordres with respect to slaughtering sacrificial animals after the ratification of al-Hudaybiyah Peace Treaty, the thing that perturbed and caused the Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) to feel anxious. However, when Umm Salamah (radee Allaahu 'anhaa) advised that he take the initiative and sacrifice his animals, his followers raced to follow his example; a clear evidence in support of the saying: Actions speak louder than words, in the process of exterminating a deeply-established tradition.

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Hypocrites aroused a lot of suspicions and made a broad false propaganda against that marriage. Their acts and talks about that marriage had ill-effects on those Muslims whose Faith was still weak, particularly that Zaynab was the fifth wife - and the Noble Qur'aan limited the number up to four only; Zayd was traditionally his son, and so a father marrying his son's divorcee was a heinous sin in the eyes of the Arabs.

 

Al-Ahzaab Soorah was revealed to shed full light on the two issues, i.e. Islaam does not recognize adoption of children, and the Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) is given (by Allaah) more freedom as regards the number of wives he can hold than other Muslims in order to achieve noble and honourable purposes.

 

However, the treatment of the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) to his wives was of honourable, noble, and superb nature. His wives were on tops in respect of honour, satisfaction, patience, modesty, and service (that is to say the performance of housework and marriage duties). Although the Messenger's house-life was hard and unbearable, none of his wives complained. Anas said about the Prophet's life: "According to my knowledge, the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) has never tasted a thin flattened loaf in all his lifetime, nor has he ever seen with his own eyes roasted mutton."

 

'Aa'ishah said: "Over two months have elapsed - during which we have seen three crescents - and yet no fire has been kindled in the houses of the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) (i.e. they did not cook food)." "What did you eat to sustain yourselves?" 'Urwah asked. She said "The two blacks: dates and water". Lots of information about the hard life of the Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) were told.

 

In spite of these hardships, straits and adversity of life in the house of the Prophet (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam), none of his wives uttered a word of complaint worthy of reproach - but once. This exception was required by human instinctive inclinations. However, it was not so important and consequently it did not require the decree of a legislative rule. Allaah has given them an opportunity to choose between two things, as clearly stated in the following verses:

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"O Prophet (Muhammad (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) )! Say to your wives: 'If you desire the life of this world, and its glitter, - then come! I will make a provision for you and set you free in a handsome manner (divorce). But if you desire Allaah and His Messenger, and the Home of the Hereafter, then verily, Allaah has prepared for al-Muhsinaat (good doers) amongst you an enormous reward.'" (Soorat ul-Ahzaab, 33:28,29)

 

They were so noble and honest that none of them preferred 'the life of this world and its glitter' to the abode in the Hereafter.

 

Although they were many in number, nothing of the dispute occurrences that normally happen among co-wives, took place in their houses. Very few cases could be the only exception; but they were quite normal. Allaah reproached them for that, so they ceased to do such a thing. This incident is mentioned in At-Tahreem Chapter:

 

"O Prophet! Why do you ban (for yourself) that which Allaah has made lawful to you…" (Soorat ut-Tahreem, 66:1) (to the end of the fifth verse).

 

Discussing polygamy - in my opinion - is not a necessity; since a person who is familiar with the Europeans, and indecent practices, sufferings, wickedness, their sorrows and distresses, the horrible crimes they commit in this respect as well as the trials, the disasters that they are involved in, and which emanate directly from their disregard of the principle of polygamy form a good reason (to justify the soundness of polygamy). The distorted picture of life in Europe with the ill-practices featuring it, could truthfully justify the existence and practice of polygamy. In this, there are Divine signs for all people possessed of lucid mind.

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